Curtis Bunn is an Essence Magazine #1 bestselling author of Truth is in the Wine, Homecoming Weekend and A Cold Piece of Work. A Washington, D.C. native and graduate of Norfolk State University, he is the founder of the National Book Club Conference, an organization that hosts an annual literary event for African-American readers and authors. Visit him at www.curtisbunn.com and on Facebook and Twitter.
BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?
I'm almost obsessed with creating stories that are fun and that people can relate to across the board. In the case of The Old Man In The Club, we've all see that guy. We all know that guy. I not only asked the question that most people ask --"Why is he in this night club?"--but I also answered the question. And the answer, in this case, is not as simple as a "dirty old man" seeking young companionship. It's much more intricate and involved. There are a few side stories that are emotional and engaging and will place the reader in the story and make him vested in the outcome of the storylines. Why now? Because all the issues in the book--relationships, family struggles, friendship challenges--are all very real concerns of today.
BPM: Does your upbringing, prior relationships or life experiences inspire your writing?
For sure, my experience as a well-traveled sports journalist for more than three decades has exposed me to a lot of interesting places, people and situations that certainly inspire thoughts and help generate creative flow. I've been single, married, divorced and engaged, so I've experienced a lot in relationships, too, which also gives me a perspective that is vast. I'm from Southeast, Washington, D.C., worked for 11years in New York and I live in Atlanta. So I have lifestyle perspectives on three amazing but different cities. I've traveled the world for work and play, and those experience are priceless and add inspiration to my work. So, I'm inspired from various aspects of life.
BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot driven or character driven?
My books come from anything and anywhere and everywhere. When you're an author, your senses are more keen and your mind more active. . . at least for me it is. So it's hard to say one function of my life helps me formulate my ideas. They just come to me and when they hit that chord, I know it instantly. My books are both plot and character driven. I believe the plots should be involved, realistic and engaging, with twists that are unexpected but believable. That's important: believable. The characters must have layers that show a complete person that is capable of going wherever my imagination take him. Ultimately, you can't have a plot-driven book with dull characters. Likewise, you can't have interesting characters with a stale plot.
BPM: Introduce us to your current work. What kind of growth have you seen in your writing?
I improve everyday as a writer because I write everyday and I work hard at my craft. That's the only way to get better--to write and study your work and to always, no matter how much you like what you've crafted, work hard at making it better. Be a better editor than a writer. That's where my improvement has been the greatest. When I was a young author, I liked what I wrote and kept it moving. I didn't explore ways to make it even stronger. Now, every sentence has a purpose, every scene a purpose, every character a purpose. . . all of it to advance the story and make it more clear and engaging to the reader.
BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters. What makes each one so special?
The main character is Elliot Thomas, who is 61 years old and exploring the Atlanta nightlife with twentysomethings. He's hardly the "dirty old man" preying on young girls. He's not even the "Sugar Daddy" who gets young women's attention by giving them things. Rather, he's a man who overcame some severe challenges and reached a point to live life on his terms. One of them was to recapture his twenties, making him quite an interesting character. He has a lot going on in his life and had some events in his past that contribute to his disposition of going back in time.
Tamara Worthington is the 25-year-old lead female character who always had an attraction to older men. She was considered an "old soul" by her family when she was a girl, and that mentality carried over to her choice of men. So when Elliot approaches her, she's less turned off than many other women her age. Henry, Elliot's closest friend, is a major character who shocks and disappoints Elliot. so much so that their friendship is threatened. Elliot is placed in a moral dilemma that will make readers wonder what they would do in his situation.
BPM: What topics are primarily discussed? Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?
To protect the plot, I will say the topics, in general, range from how we select mates, how divorce can impact a family, the value of friendship and what we'd do to protect the people we love. I learned from writing this book that we (my included) have a propensity for judging people without knowing enough to make a judgment. But we do it anyway, which isn't fair. I also learned that if a friendship is truly of value to you, you have to be loyal to it. . . even if you're severely tested by it.
BPM: What defines success for you, as a published author? What are your ambitions for your writing career?
Success is defined by the number of people I hear from who tell me they enjoyed my books and that they got something meaningful out of them. Of course, everyone wants the bestseller. But the reasons you want that bestseller's list could be different. I want to reach the masses because I believe I tell stories that embraceable and learnig and fun and will provide a wonderful reading experience, no matter your background. That's success for me. And that's my ambition, too--to reach as many people as possible with a story that they will enjoy, become emotionally invested and close the book at the end feeling like they had a worthwhile reading experience.
BPM: What are your expectations for this book? What would you like for readers to do after reading this book?
My expectations are that those who support it will love it and share with others in their life that they believe will enjoy it, too. After a reader finishes it, I'd like them to e-mail me about their experience, share knowledge of the book to family and friends and encourage them to read it, too.
BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
My website is www.curtisbunn.com and I'm a constant on Facebook with my person page and author page. I'm on Twitter and Instagram, too: @curtisbunn. I LOVE hearing from readers!!!
BPM: Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
I'm a book club lover. I love meeting with book clubs to discuss my work. The energy and conversation is always fun and lively and I think we all leave the meeting feeling uplifted and like we learned something. So, I look forward to hearing from book clubs about traveling to their city to meet with them and have a fun time.
I am truly grateful for your support. It means more than I can express. I hope you enjoy the book, are entertained by it, learn a few things and think about the old man in the club differently the next time you see him. THANK YOU!!
The Old Man In The Club by Curtis Bunn
He’s the “old guy in the club” who everyone judges and scorns, but there’s so much more to his story…
Travel into the mind and soul of a complex man on the road to redemption in this riveting, true-to-life novel.
Almost everyone who has been to a nightclub has seen him: the proverbial “old man in the club.” He’s the graying, elderly loner looking totally out of place, like he could be everyone’s father. Or grandfather. And almost everyone’s wondering the same thing: Why is he in here?
In Curtis Bunn’s The Old Man in the Club, you learn why. Meet Elliott Thomas, sixty-one years old, and not afraid of spending a night among twenty-something strangers. But his motivation for hanging out in clubs isn’t his fear of growing old; it’s his desire to “catch up on what I have missed.” Life hasn’t been easy for Elliott, and now he’s on a journey to redemption. How he goes about it, however, gives some people pause. Some find him charming, some find him creepy. The women his age find him disgusting. His buddies marvel at his nerve. His children loathe his existence. But no matter who judges him, Elliott is set on reclaiming his youth—the way he wants to.
A page-turner that outlines the depth, complexities, and motivations of an intriguing character, this novel will surprise you, challenge you and touch you—and make sure you never look at the “old man in the club” the same way again.
Curtis Bunn is an Essence magazine #1 bestselling author of Truth is in the Wine, Homecoming Weekend and A Cold Piece of Work. A Washington, D.C. native and graduate of Norfolk State University, he is the founder of the National Book Club Conference, an organization that hosts an annual literary event for African-American readers and authors. Visit him at www.curtisbunn.com and on Facebook and Twitter.
Purchase The Old Man in the Club by Curtis Bunn
Amazon Link: http://amzn.com/1593095724